I played this interesting hand recently with Ellyn Smith, one of our most faithful players, and she made the key bid that led to our attaining the top score. When it was her second turn to bid, she showed the diamond support in her hand, and I was sure that we had a slam based on my distribution and on the bidding by the other side.
West made a takeout double of my opening bid to show support for the unbid suits, and when both the opponents bid spades and my partner Ellyn supported diamonds, I was convinced that I would be able to trump spades in the dummy. At the same time, Ellyn's free bid in hearts gave me hope that she had that ace, so I bid the slam in diamonds. Now West took action with what she thought was a strong defensive hand and doubled us, and no one would blame her for thinking that at least one of the suits she held would contribute a defensive trick or two.
The play of the hand was quite simple and obvious because I did not want to lose a spade trick and had to trump them all. This meant that I could not lead diamonds until the spades were gone, so I had to get back and forth by trumping hearts and clubs in my hand. In the end, with the spades dividing evenly, my last spade was set up and I made all 13 tricks. Almost everyone made the same 13 tricks on the hand, but no one else was in slam.
Many local players are planning to play in the regional tournament in Kalispell, Montana, in the next week, and also to participate in the Instant Matchpoint game on the evening of Thursday, September 14. In this event, hands are duplicated across the country and everyone plays at the same time. The winners get gold points, a valuable reward for seekers of Life Master status. That event will be held at the Boise Bridge Club. For more information, call 327-0166.